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A same-sex couple’s reunion kiss draws cheers… and some jeers

A same-sex couple’s reunion kiss draws cheers… and some jeers

US Navy first kiss

A sailor returns home, runs ashore and sweeps his husband up in a passionate embrace and a kiss.

This was the scene on 21 December, after the USS The Sullivans pulled into port.

Kenneth Woodington was the winner of the first kiss lottery, giving him the privilege of being the first to lock lips with his spouse, sailor Bryan Woodington, who had spent the past seven months in the Gulf.

As they embraced each other, the newlyweds were met with applause from other service family members waiting for their loved ones.

‘I was excited and I could not wait for it to happen. I knew I was going to dip him,’ said Bryan.

‘When he got off the ship, I lost all control, I just dropped everything and I just ran,’ Kenneth remarked.

The photo of the couple’s reunion held echoes of another picture: the iconic shot of a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square at the end of World War II.

Some upset viewers by a same-sex kiss

But not everyone was cheering this time.

WJXT, a television station which aired a segment featuring the kiss, soon started to receive angry calls and social media comments from viewers.

‘How sad your station has dropped to such a low as to show a gay couple kissing on your newscast,’ one comment read.

Another said: ‘I thought this was a “family-friendly” news channel.’

While the couple are aware of the negative backlash. But neither seem particularly fazed.

‘It didn’t really bother me,’ Kenneth said. ‘Honestly, I’m the type of person who doesn’t really care that much about what people say.’

‘My grandmother always taught me, she said, “You know some people have a different life and this is how they are and you just have to treat them as such and treat them with kindness and respect”,’ Bryan said.

The couple said they’ve received more positive feedback than negative. They also say the Navy has been nothing but kind and accepting.

Bill Austin, a spokesperson for Naval Station Mayport, pointed out that same-sex kisses were no longer unusual for the US Navy, and that the maritime branch of the armed forces had always aimed to be gender neutral.

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